Overweight and Obesity in Saudi Arabia
Consequences and Solutions
by Tagred Algaith, Reem Alsukait, Hussah Alghodair, Mohammed Alluhaidan, Meera Shekar, and Christopher H. Herbst
Series:International Development in Focus
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Publication year: 2022
Cdn: $69.00; US: $47.50
Overweight and obesity constitute a major global epidemic that has grown substantially. They are particularly alarming in Saudi Arabia, where more than half of the adult population is overweight and one out of five people are obese. Additionally, the prevalence of all noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)—such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers—has increased substantially in recent decades, and today they are the leading cause of disability and death in the country. While the causes of overweight and obesity are complex and numerous, several innovative and multi-sectoral evidence-based interventions are emerging globally. Saudi Arabia has already embarked on the design and implementation of several such interventions and is committed to further expanding and scaling up such efforts in order to meet national goals and achieve results. This book builds on this work by laying out the remaining challenges while highlighting the opportunities lying ahead. The book provides new evidence and analysis on obesity in Saudi Arabia in order to support planning efforts on obesity prevention in the country. This includes examining the current prevalence of obesity and its risk factors, estimating the health and economic burden associated with obesity in the country, exploring the relationship between obesity and COVID-19, and identifying existing obesity prevention efforts and ways to enhance their impact based on the latest evidence. Finally, the book explores the use of a food system approach to connect human health and the environment, including through the production of a Saudi-specific Nutrient Profiling Model to help guide nutrition and obesity-related policies.